***I wrote this post two Mother’s Days ago. I was going to post it, but it was still so raw that I was a little nervous to give it to the internet. The ‘diet’ my mom started was keto (although she says its “low carb, not keto” & we tease her about it) & she is still eating the same way to this day. I’ve been thinking about this post sitting in my drafts recently, & thought that it’s an important thought to share. While this was written over a year ago, the message means the same today. I’ll add some more follow up at the end too.***
May 13, 2018
Because I want to be completely honest and real with you; yesterday my mom and I got in a huge fight. Definitely one of the biggest fights we’ve ever had.
The woman who fought for my life to get me the help I needed when I was beginning to become consumed by my eating disorder.
The woman who slept on a tiny hospital couch while I told her I hated her and pretty gave her the silent treatment for weeks.
The woman who sacrificed hours of her day to create meals for me, sit with me during meals, check on my progress, drive me to therapy, nutritionist and doctors appointments multiple times a week, while I still told her I hated her.
The woman who inspired me to finally chose recovery.
The woman who kept me honest, and held my hand when I felt like I was falling.
This woman informed me that she was beginning a new diet— not to lose weight, but for a specific injury she has. And the diet has been helping.
These words completely tore me apart. It made me feel like all those things she said and did during my recovery was a lie. The thoughts came pouring in, if disordered behaviors are OK for some, why can’t they be OK for me?
Normally after arguments with my mom, we bounce back and are completely fine, as if nothing ever came between us; but being honest again, I was rocked for the rest of the day. I cried for hours. I felt alone and confused about how someone could watch the effects that ‘dieting for health’ had on someone they loved, yet still participate in one. I invalidated all those things that my mother had done for me during recovery, I depersonalized her, thinking she was ‘just like everyone else’.
But this morning, I realized I was wrong. Just because someone I love decides to start a new diet, that doesn’t make my recovery a lie. It doesn’t go back and undo all those long nights that she stayed with me while I cried because of eating a fear food, or the times that she listened when I uncomfortably tried to explain my binge eating.
Ironically, for an assignment I had in a Health Education class I just started this week, we had to write what we valued most. I wrote “relationships with my loved ones”. However, this experience made me reflect back on this question… and made me realize maybe I have been valuing my own beliefs over the relationships I have with others. If I can so easily invalidate everything that a loved one has done for me because they have a different belief than me… how on earth am I going to have a truly strong relationship with anyone?
Yeah, having my mom, one of those ‘foundation stones’ to my recovery, begin to diet hurts really bad. It makes me uncomfortable to watch her eat differently than me. It makes me feel guilty when she says she feels great on this diet. It makes me question whether I should eat differently. I completely emphasize with those of you who have to battle the same on a daily basis.
It sucks that I’ll have to fight these thoughts while spending time with family now… but sometimes that’s part of meaningful relationships. We don’t have to see eye to eye with the people we love. That also includes the fact that we DEFINITELY don’t have to change to fit into their beliefs either.
While my mom embarks on her new diet, I’ll keep maintaining my strength, and now looking at this as an opportunity to practice building more strength as I continue to fight my way through the uphill battle that this diet culture creates. However, I will remember to practice my “gray area” thinking: just because my mom diets, it doesn’t make her bad. Just because I see the world differently than she does, it doesn’t mean that only one of us can be ALL right and the other one ALL wrong.
I’ll keep on fighting for that balance.
I love my mom. She gave me life. She sustained my life. She saved my life multiple times. And she continues to give me life.
We don’t hold the same beliefs. And its OK.
***A year and a couple months later & this doesn’t feel so raw. For the first few months, seeing my mom bring her own food to family gatherings, trading all carbs for some type of veggie & eating “special desserts” triggered me. Like I said in the post, I reminded myself that just because she eats this way doesn’t mean that I need to eat that way & definitely doesn’t mean that my mom is bad.
With time, it got easier. I sometimes try some of her “special desserts” (though most the time they would just remind me of why I like genuine sugar in my treats lol), I eat more fats when I’m at their house with all the nuts, nut butters, meat & cheeses they have & I have learned to embrace the different ways that people eat.
Eating is oh, so individual & it is important to find what works best for YOU & what makes YOU feel the best. For me, carbs truly give me energy. They give me satisfaction & strength for my long runs. I couldn’t live without the many carbs I eat, while for my mom, she genuinely feels better on less.
I would no longer say I feel triggered when I’m around my mom at mealtime. I don’t think I would be able to say that if I allowed my beliefs to be more important than my relationship with my mom. I had to fight some demons initially, but they were worth the fight!!***